Interview with MS SLP graduate student Jamie Brunette

I am so pleased to share my interview with graduating second year MS SLP student Jamie Brunette.

When you were 10 years old what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

A fashion designer. Growing up, I would never let my mother pick out my outfits, and I would mix and match some very colorful pieces. I would cut-up my clothes and try to sew them together to create something new. I didn’t find speech pathology until about halfway through my undergraduate program where I was studying pre-medicine at Penn State. My 10-year-old self would be happy to know that, while I am not a fashion designer, I continue to integrate style and personality into my work outfits. 

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am from the rural Pocono Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania where my parents still reside with our golden retriever, Honey. I grew up with one older sister, who is to this day my very best friend and an integral part of why I was able to take the leap in moving to a new city by myself. 

Why did you chose Northeastern for your graduate studies?

I had a wonderful educational experience at Penn State, and I really enjoyed the bigger class sizes. For graduate school, I was ready to engage in a more intimate setting where I could build close professional relationships with my professors and supervisors. I was also ready to explore an urban setting and the opportunities that came with it. The variety of clinical opportunities and experiences Northeastern offers is what confirmed my decision.

Jamie with classmates on campus

What have been some of the challenges moving to a new city?

Moving to a new city had some challenges for me, as I was not used to living in this setting. A challenge for me, coming from a rural area, was the feeling of having to be “go, go, go”, or always “on” in the city. To mediate this, I regularly schedule time to visit home or get away to nearby mountains in Vermont to disconnect from the hustle and bustle and re-center myself. When these are not viable options, a picnic in the Boston Commons or a walk on the Charles Esplanade does the trick too.

What have you learned about yourself during your graduate program studies?

I’ve learned how to think flexibly and be creative to get the best outcomes for patients. Another key lesson I’ve learned in graduate school is how to ask for support and advice. Talking with professors, supervisors, and classmates to bounce ideas off or get their professional opinion about my practice, has infinitely helped me grow during my time in school. 

What is your area of interest in the field of Speech-Language Pathology?

I have two areas of interest in the field of Speech-Language Pathology. I thoroughly enjoy working with the adult and geriatric population post acquired neurologic injury in the acute rehabilitation setting. I love the intensity of treatment, the progress they make, and the rapport I get to build with each patient. 

I also enjoy working with the teen and young-adult population who have limited functional speech and use AAC to meet their communication needs. My time at the Children Center for Communication & Beverly School for the Deaf and Camp Jabberwocky allowed me to have experiences with this population and were the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had in graduate school. 

Jamie and a camper at Camp Jabberwocky

You are the Vice President of the Northeastern University Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association (NUSSLHA). Tell us about this role.

My role as the Vice President of NUSSLHA was to work closely with our co-presidents, Carli Bopp and Dana Nieves, as well as the rest of the NUSSLHA board. We collaborated as a small team to host fundraising, service, academic, and social events for both cohorts, and our final event will be the graduate banquet this week. The event will include first-year students who will receive awards, and we will be celebrating the graduating second-year students.  

What is your favorite thing about Boston?

My favorite thing about Boston is the greenery and architecture. I enjoy walking through the city and seeing the historical preservation of buildings, and I appreciate the green spaces that are placed strategically throughout the city. 

Tell us what you like to do when you are not in class or at your clinical placement.

Outside of graduate school, I still love fashion and design. I enjoy shopping at thrift and consignment stores to give clothing and home items a second life. I also love getting back to my roots by going skiing, snowboarding, camping, and hiking. Most importantly, I love spending time with my family and friends, especially by talking over a cup of coffee. 

Thanks for your time Jamie and best of luck!